Insurance may to many eyes be dishwater dull, but it’s important, as is understanding the FAQS applied to your policy and the policies and procedures the industry follows.
With that in mind we’ve prepared answers to a few of your FAQS.
Don’t forget that if you ever have a query about your quote, policy or just something in general, you can give us a bell or drop us a line.
GENERAL INSURANCE QUESTIONS
What is the difference between Third Party Only (TPO), Third Party Fire & Theft (TPFT) and Comprehensive insurance?
a) Third party only insurance is the minimum level of cover you are required to have by law in order to use a motor vehicle on a public highway.
As the name suggests it protects others – third parties – their vehicles and property if they are involved in an accident for which you are to blame.
With TPO cover you and your vehicle are not covered although any passengers or pillions you carry would be insured. When a claim is made against a third party policy, the policyholder is not required to pay an excess.
b) Third party fire and theft insurance offers the same level of cover as TPO, plus protection against loss from fire or theft.
An excess is only payable for fire and theft claims.
c) Comprehensive insurance provides the same level of protection as TPFT, plus cover against accidental damage to your vehicle.
This means that regardless of who is to blame for an accident, or your vehicle is damaged by accident, you are covered for loss or damage to your vehicle. If the damage is accidental, your No Claims Bonus (NCB) could be reduced.
When buying insurance it is important to take into account not just the type of cover (TPO, TPFT or comprehensive) but any restrictions or limits that apply to individual policies.
Why do you need a copy of my driving/motorcycle licence?
We ask for this so that we have proof that you have the correct licence for the vehicle being insured. If you take out a policy but hold the wrong licence then your insurance may be invalid.
Motorcycle riders may also be asked for a copy of the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) certificate, again to prove they are legally entitled to ride the motorcycle they are insuring.
Documentation is also required for any named drivers or riders also being covered on a policy.
What is a “no claims bonus”?
A no claims bonus (sometimes called a no claims discount) does pretty much what it says on the tin.
For every claim free year (typically up to a maximum of five years, but sometimes longer), your insurer will award you a bonus in the form of a discount.
The longer you go claims free, the bigger the discount, until you hit your insurer’s maximum NCB tier.
Different insurers offer different tiers and maximum discount levels.
How do I prove my no claims bonus (NCB) entitlement?
In order to transfer any no claims bonus (sometimes called a no claims discount) you have previously built up, to a policy administered by Principal Insurance you need to supply us with written confirmation from your previous broker or insurer of your NCB status.
You can get this by requesting it from them once your previous policy has expired.
You must supply us with proof of your NCB within 14 days of your policy administered by Principal commencing.
If you have any trouble obtaining proof of your NCB please contact us and we will assist as best we can.
A renewal notice is not accepted as proof of your NCB. This is because your renewal is issued before your policy expires and it is possible for a claim to be made in the intervening period.
Can I transfer a no claims bonus earned on my car policy to a motorcycle policy?
No. NCB is attributed to the vehicle rather than the individual so you cannot transfer discount earned for a car, motorhome or van to a bike, or combine motorcycle and car NCBs.
I’ve been off the road for a while. Why have I lost my no claims bonus?
Typically insurers will wipe the NCB slate clean for drivers and riders if they have not had insurance for two or more years. However, some insurers may extend this period, depending on individual circumstances so please check with us first.
If I make a claim will I lose all my no claims bonus?
How much a claim impacts your NCB will depend upon how many fault claim-free years you have accrued.
NCB discounts are tiered, growing for every claim-free year with the maximum discount level typically reached after five years (although some insurers do offer NCB over longer periods).
So, any fault claim within five years will see a reduction in your NCB.
However, if you have, say, nine claim-free years and then make a fault claim, then you may retain a three year NCB discount level – the difference in full policy years between the five year maximum period eligible for discount and how long you have actually been claim-free.
How much discount on my insurance can I earn through a NCB?
Different insurers operate different NCB schemes and so the discounts available for each claim-free year vary.
If you have a query about your NCB then please check your policy wording or contact us.
I have made a non-fault claim but when I renewed my policy, my NCB was not applied to my premium. Why?
If a claim is still live when your renewal is due then your NCB will be suspended until the claim is settled.
This is because whilst you may believe you were not at fault, it may be that some level of blame is attributed to you by another party’s insurer.
Once a claim has been settled in your favour the NCB will be reapplied and you will be refunded any premium discount due to you.
Can I transfer my no claims bonus to a new policy?
Yes, your NCB discount is transferable. One thing to remember though is that because different insurers offer different bonuses the level of discount may change.
If you have a query about the impact changing your insurer will have on your NCB, please contact us.
What is an excess?
Put simply an excess is the amount an insurer will ask you to contribute towards the cost of settling a claim.
Any excesses you would be expected to pay in the event of a claim will be detailed within your policy schedule.
These will include the main policy excess (compulsory excess) and any voluntary excess you may have opted for, as well as those that might apply to, say, replacing a windscreen.
The main policy excess is usually deducted from your insurance settlement if your vehicle is a total loss or you if your vehicle is being repaired, you may be required to pay this to the repairer.
The compulsory excess is one set by the insurer and cannot be changed. However, you may be able to supplement that compulsory excess with a voluntary excess. Usually you would do this in return for a lower premium, the theory being that in offering to pay a higher voluntary excess you are sharing a higher proportion of the risk.
What is excess protection insurance?
This is an optional additional policy which you may be able to buy to cover the excess due when you make a claim on your main policy.
You will usually be required to settle any excess due (your main policy insurer will normally deduct this from your settlement) and then claim it back on your excess protection insurance.
Can I insure my vehicle and put my son or daughter as the main driver or rider?
No. This is an illegal practice known as “insurance fronting.” It is prohibited because insurance is always calculated on the highest risk.
To be legal and be protected by valid insurance the main rider or driver should be the registered owner or keeper as then an insurer can see they have an “insurable interest” in the vehicle.
If you want to minimise the cost of your son or daughter’s insurance then ask us about specialist schemes for young riders and drivers.
Can I get short-term insurance?
We do not generally arrange short term insurance policies as they are not very common in the insurance market which is focused on standard 12-month policy terms. Short term insurance can also have its drawbacks such as denying you the ability to earn no claims bonuses.
These policies offer up to 30 days insurance. They are designed to help drivers meet the legal obligations necessary for their vehicle to be released by demonstrating their vehicle is insured for the minimum period required by law.
What is Driving Other Cycles (DOC)?
Some policies we offer include cover for ‘driving other cycles’. Whilst insurers may not quite have got the phraseology right, DOC enables you to ride other motorcycles and be covered by third party insurance (see above for levels of cover).
However, for the DOC provision to be valid you must have the owners’ consent to ride their bike which itself must be insured.
Remember you will only be covered third party so, for example, should you damage the other bike you cannot claim for the cost of its repair.
DOC is offered only with certain policies and when riders satisfy particular conditions. If this is cover you need or want, please discuss with us before you take out your insurance.
Can you arrange insurance for a heavily modified motorcycle?
Because we are a specialist insurance group satisfying specialist needs, it is rare that we are unable to arrange insurance for a modified or custom motorcycle or trike.
Indeed many insurers on our panel do not limit the number of modifications your bike may have as long as it remains road legal. Please ask for details of the insurers we use to compare modified and custom motorcycle insurance quotes.
Because your bike is a non-standard and perhaps even a “one-off” we may need to arrange a “one off” insurance policy. We are happy to do this, but of course it may take a little longer so we suggest you contact us a couple of weeks before your renewal is due.
You may also need to provide us with photographs and other documentation so we can more accurately determine the insurance value and risk of your motorcycle.
Do I need commuting cover on my motorcycle?
Most motorcycle insurance policies do not include commuting cover as standard.
If you are going to use your bike to commute, even if only occasionally, then you will need commuting cover and your premium will be adjusted to reflect this.
Students should note that riding to college is classed by insurers as commuting so you will need that extra cover.